Knowing what must be done does away with fear. – Rosa Parks
I had a purple sky lull me to sleep, the wind died and my tent stayed up with help from my phantom stake providers, but someone ran a generator all night and a guy was yelling bright and early.
I pack up and ship out, eating on the trail. It’s ten miles to water, up and down on a rollercoaster of trail in the forest. I think of one of my mom’s coolest friend named Barbara who was tough and never took things personally. How healthy that must be to have resilience and not stay stuck in the groove that replays past hurts.
I pass some slash and burn forestry, reminding me of a spot in New Zealand. Deer come running towards me on the trail. It must take a lot of work to maintain these trails in the wilderness where only saws and hatchets cut paths through huge downed logs. I sit on one to take a drink and rip a hole in my bottom. Dark blue mountain jays squawk with a kind of bird vocal fry.
I reach a wooden sign post with a small roof that is covered with hiker wisdom. The wisest thing I realize is the fact of hiker’s carrying a marker. Helpful advice leaps out like, “when in doubt travel,” and “don’t focus on the path, focus on the journey,” “there are far better things ahead than what you leave behind” and, my personal favorite, “buy the ticket, take the ride.”
I find it interesting that when I am in excruciating emotional pain, I can’t imagine healing. And yet, years after, I can hardly remember what the big deal was. A lizard crawls into the sun, his body seesawing as he flutters through the grass. A hiker passes and tells me he’s glad to be out of California. I wonder if he’ll feel the same leaving Oregon.
I pass two faucets above troughs, both turned off. But I have to pee and a far happier hiker approaches just as I zip up. He asks if he scared me, then how far I’m headed, promising me a margarita awaits.
Water gushes off a dam at Little Hyatt Reservoir. A woman buried in her headphones can’t muster a hello – nor the next arrival – but another gal smiles and chats, offering camping advice ahead. It’s so nice when the hikers are nice. Why not always be that way?
I go over a rise and the landscape changes, black oak is everywhere and the grass is brown, a lot like Northern California. The path is lined with ripe thimbleberry bushes, nosing in so I have to press through – and graze – as I go.
It’s here I meet Maria from Ashland who is writing a trail guide to the surrounding mountains. We hit it off immediately. She has the energy and spunk I have and loves these trails. And she invites me to her home. The timing is off as she will be away tomorrow, so I thank her and press on.
In another half hour, we meet again and decide I simply must come into town to get a resupply, have a shower and meal and hang out with someone so cool. She heads to a spring and I walk the two miles to the highway, along the way bumping into Wonder’s parents visiting from Georgia.
I am absolutely knackered from talking basically non-stop. Such a lovely person and a huge meal with her boyfriend John. It will be an early morning, so off to sleep. The next check in will be in a new state!